“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” — 1 Timothy 4:8
Self-discipline is a trait that I would argue every successful athlete has. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as, “the ability to make yourself do things you know you should do even when you do not want to.”
Every athlete has days they don’t want to push their bodies in workouts or practice. Some of the best athletes are the ones that have the strong self-discipline to push themselves to do the training they don’t feel like doing in the moment.
However, self-discipline may not always come to mind when thinking about the Christian faith.
Due to the fall of man in Genesis, we were born with hearts that oppose God and are inclined to sin. Our hearts do not naturally choose the things of God.
This is where self-discipline comes in. If we wait until we feel like it to read our Bibles, we will probably be waiting a very long time. Often, quiet time has to start out as a discipline we instill in our lives before we begin to desire it. God’s Word is living and active. It pierces our hearts and is able to change us in miraculous ways. When we discipline ourselves to read it, our hearts and desires begin to change, and we begin to crave it.
When it comes to sports and physical fitness, training is incredibly important. Training for Godliness is far more valuable, and we should be taking it seriously.
Just as one trains their body to compete — whether it’s in the gym, the practice field, or the recovery room — so should Christians be training for Godliness. You don’t wake up one day incredibly fit, it takes a great deal of effort. Similarly, we don’t wake up one day Godly, it takes time with Him to continuously change our hearts.
— Shannon deLoach
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